Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Remember When . . . Punishment and Praise Were Public?

In my research for my Edwardian work-in-progress, I came across an interesting bit of information from the Manor House site. Apparently in some houses, the master doled out punishment and praise after morning prayers, when the entire household was gathered. As in, if you did something to gain his attention, be it good or bad, he would make note of it in front of everyone.

Can you imagine? I know it wasn't done this way in every great house, but I found it so striking that I had to include it in my WIP. See, my heroine's father is a recluse who considers the running of his estate his sole purpose in life--at least until he's reunited with his daughter. ;-) When I imagine Whitby (who's modeled after Robert Downey Junior--siiiiggghhhhh), I see a master who is very involved with his household, who views each and every one as of interest to the estate, and so of interest to him.

He's a kind man, so is far more likely to dole out praise than punishment. I imagine most mornings after the household-wide reading from the prayer book, he dismissed the staff to their tasks without a word. But when someone has done something exceptionally fine, he would see that they're acknowledged for it.

And if someone did something bad enough to gain his notice and warrant punishment--well, he's just harsh enough to make an example of them. After all, his house will run smoothly, and it's best that everyone remember that.

Though I've written this book a gazillion times now (okay, four or five rewrites now, LOL), this is the first version in which my heroine Brook has a father. I had to introduce his character this time in order to take care of some inheritance issues, and I'm so glad I did. I love his dry wit and cynicism, and I especially love the soft heart under the bristly exterior. It's proving a lot of fun to determine who this guy is and how he would react to the plotline already in place. Having his whole life revolve around Whitby Park gives him an edge I'm enjoying discovering.

Of course, I get to explore the servant side of things too, and it's also a lot of fun to think of how they would react to these public displays. Certainly they would fear--and resent--the punishment before their peers. But you know, it's likely that even the praise could engender some resentment among them.

Oh yeah. This is gonna be a blast. =)


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this, Roseanna--you've brought me back into the historical novel fold.

    1. It's a good fold to be in. ;-) So commence the praying that the editor this is targeted at likes it, LOL.

  2. Would NOT like that. Not ONE bit. And will LOVE reading about it happening to other people LOL ;) (and your writing process fascinates me. Have I mentioned that before?)

    1. It does? Good heavens, WHY? LOL. My process always seems so linear and boring compared to other people's. ;-)